- 1214 18th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036
- Overall User Rating:
- (3 ratings)
- Wed - Thu: 9:00pm - 3:00am Fri - Sat: 9:00pm - 4:00am
- Official Web Site:
After a night of drinking at the club, your mind can sometimes play tricks on you.
Are those giant lips all over the wall?
Did those girls just get free champagne in the bathroom?
Is that a 3-D hologram hovering over the dance floor?
And you really might start second-guessing your grip on reality when you see fire breathers, stilt walkers, professional pole dancers and a 6-foot-tall white bunny grinding with the ladies and taking photos with celebrities.
But this is the reality of the Miami-centric M.I.A. Lounge, midtown’s newest addition to the nightclub scene, located next to Dupont Circle's Public Bar. What sets the club apart, other than the aforementioned oddities, is the colorfulness and character of it all.
“I wanted this club to be unique from any other in the city,” said M.I.A. partner Mehdi Ben at the venue’s media night, covered exclusively by Metromix. “ Most clubs owned by a man look like they’re owned by a man. This one is designed by a woman because I wanted a feminine touch.”
That’s precisely what Ben received when he enlisted the services of HGTV personality and designer Yvette Irene (formerly Yvette Piaggio), whose previous D.C. project was designing Buddha Bar.
And just like Buddha Bar, Irene was given quite a canvas to work with at M.I.A. The venue, which took remarkably only two months to transform from the former Lupe Mexican Cantina into a posh nightclub space, has high ceilings and long brick walls that Irene painted hot pink.
Other soft touches include the “lip wall”—a wall loaded with images of lips, the “liquid table” that reacts to your touch, silver mannequins adorning the downstairs bar, a giant stripper pole, vinyl seating, and handcuffs and silver-painted machine guns on the bathroom walls.
“We definitely wanted to think outside the box,” said Irene of M.I.A.’s design. “We wanted everything to shimmer and sparkle.”
At the entrance guests are lured in either by the venue’s mascot—The M.I.A. Lounge Bunny—or by the silhouette of a dancer moving seductively above the doorway. Once inside white curtains fill the room, much like the Delano Hotel nightclub in South Beach.
D.C.-native and idesign owner Michael Meacham provided the lighting. His previous impressive work can be seen at Liv and Mynt in Miami, and the District's new Opera Ultra Lounge at McPherson Square.
Because of M.I.A.’s high-ceilings, Meacham was able to bring D.C.’s first right arm projector—a remarkable 360-degreee robotic rotating projector that can show any image from any angle. And because of the 360-degree capability, combined with the smoke machine from the upstairs DJ-booth, images shown from the projector appear to be in 3-D.
The state-of-the-art sound system at M.I.A. comes courtesy of Mood Bacho and Alex Haje of U.S.-based Baha Group, whose work can be heard at D.C. hotspots Opera, Josephine and Current.
If that weren’t enough to entice you, there’ll be live performances from saxophonist Natty Rico, world-class DJs, upcoming promotions from DTNation and Midnight Group, and let’s not forget that bunny.
“We called it M.I.A. for a reason,” said Ben of the venue’s acronym, which does in fact stand for 'missing in action.' “If you’re not coming here, you’re really missing the action.”
Decor: Definitely a girls touch, from the sexy cocktail servers to the pink adorning the walls, from the mural of giant lips on the main floor to the giant eyes on the upstairs VIP section. Don't fret, gentlemen—the eye candy is appealing to both sexes.
Drinks: Prices are comparable to other posh D.C. nightclubs: $530 for a magnum of Grey Goose vodka, $3500 for a bottle of Louis XIII cognac, $380 for a bottle of Dom P and $1500 for a magnum of Louis Roederer Cristal. Table service is top notch, and three separate bars—a giant long bar on the main floor, a smaller back bar for beer and shots, and a VIP section bar—means little wait for a drink.
Groups: VIP section and main floor table service available upon request.
The Damage: For those without baller budgets for bottle service, the fully stocked bar has top shelf mixed drinks starting at $10, beer slightly below that. Tapas and small bites will be added as late night snacking options in the upcoming months.
Dress Code: A mix of suits for people coming straight from work in midtown to jeans and dress shirts for the gents; cocktail dresses, skirts and cute tops for the ladies.
Insider Tips: Arrive on the earlier side to avoid massive lines, or become a regular, make friends with management and text them to see if they can get you past the line.
Bottom Line: With truly unique, albeit quirky, architectural and aesthetic touches, an impeccable attention to detail combined with friendly staff makes M.I.A. a place not to miss.